New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss left the paper today and wrote a resignation letter where she excoriates the “Old Grey Lady” as nothing more than a safe space for a generation of younger, “woke” journalists who believe opposing views have no place there.
The messy breakup stems from a decision by the Times to publish an Op-Ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), in which he suggested the Trump administration should deploy military forces to stop rioters ravaging the country in the wake of the George Floyd murder.
An internal conflict erupted at the Times between “woke” staffers who believed such an opinion had no business being published by the Times and others who believed publishing different opinions is not just ok, but required.
The “wokes” won. Editorial page editor, James Bennett resigned. Weiss described him as the person leading the effort to reform the paper.
Weiss became a target herself after she published a Twitter thread detailing the “civil war” inside the Times.
The civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes the (mostly 40+) liberals is the same one raging inside other publications and companies across the country. The dynamic is always the same. (Thread.)
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) June 4, 2020
In her resignation letter Weiss attacks the paper and describes an atmosphere that she says was no longer healthy and that she could no longer function in.
“My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again.’ Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.”
“Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” Weiss writes, adding “But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times.”
Weiss goes on to make larger statements about the direction of journalism in the country and how it is especially being carried out at the Times.
“Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.
What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.”
You can read Weiss’ letter in its entirety here.